I'm going to keep this post simple and more to the point than normal, because I know we're all busy this time of year trying to find those perfect dishes for a beautiful (and hopefully not too complicated) Thanksgiving feast! While this recipe has quite a few steps, there is plenty of down time to be getting other things done in the kitchen or around the house. 

I picked up a rather absurd quantity of cranberries at the Hollywood Farmers Market here in Portland over the weekend, because fresh cranberries are just such an exciting fall treat. My dad is the king of cranberries when it comes to holiday meals at home, so I'm bringing a bag home to him for a little west coast/great lakes cranberry sauce. 

It couldn't stop with just the cranberry sauce though, I was determined to make a cranberry dessert perfect for Thanksgiving or anytime you please! 

Almond Frangipane Tart with Cranberries, Recipe

In dreaming up the options of what to do with those vibrant red berries, I rather quickly settled on a frangipane tart... if you've ever had one before, you'll probably understand why. There is just something so magical about the rich simplicity of frangipane. I first fell in love with it making Smitten Kitchen's  Cherry Almond Galette (from the cookbook!), and have since considered all the ways I can incorporate more of this almond magic into my diet. 

So here you are, a basic shortbread tart crust, filled with almond frangipane and fresh cranberries. 

Tart Crust / Pâte Sablée

8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp cream or milk, if needed

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (you can also use a hand mixer or a strong arm!), beat the butter and sugar until creamy. 

  • Add the egg yolk, and continue mixing until it is fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of your bowl as needed. 

  • Add the flour and salt, then mix on a low speed until the dough is just coming together and there is no flour visible. You don't want to overmix the dough, so do only leave the machine running until the dough is just coming together. At this point, the dough should easily be pressed together between your fingers without falling apart. If it seems a little dry or doesn't hold together, add just as much milk or cream as is needed for it to come together. 

  • Turn the bowl out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, and gather the dough into a round disc shape. Wrap it in the plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour (or up to a few days if you're preparing ahead of time). 

  • When you're ready to bake your pastry shell, remove the dough from the fridge and let it soften slightly for a few minutes (especially if you've refrigerated it for more than an hour). Roll the dough into a circle, about 12 inches in diameter. This can be done between two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap to reduce the amount of flour added to the dough while rolling. 

  • To easily transfer the dough to the tart pan, remove the top sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap, and carefully invert the dough into the pan. Then remove the bottom sheet. Gently lift the edges of the dough to fit it down into the corners of the pan, being careful not to rip the dough. Trim any extra edges you might have by running a paring knife around the edges of the pan. Use a fork to prick the bottom of the tart shell (or fill it with parchment and pie weights, if you have them). 

  • Wrap the pan loosely in plastic and return the dough to the fridge to cool for 30 minutes prior to baking. 

  • Bake the shell at 375 for 10-15 minutes, until the surface of the pastry is dry and it is just ever so slightly starting to turn golden. 

  • Cool shell completely before adding filling. 

Filling and Finishing

6 Tbsp butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp (3oz) caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup (85 grams) ground almonds or almond flour
½ tsp almond extract

cranberries (fresh or frozen) 

  • Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium until the mixture becomes creamy, this generally takes a few minutes. 
  • Add the eggs and mix on medium again until the eggs are fully incorporated. 
  • Finally, mix in the ground almonds and almond extract until fully incorporated. If you don't have stand mixer, this can be done using a hand mixture or a strong arm and a wooden spoon! 
  • Fill cooled pastry shell with the filling, then arrange cranberries in a spiral by carefully setting them in the filling. 
  • Bake at 375 for about 35 minutes, until the filling is solid and the top is a beautiful golden brown color. Turn halfway through baking time if your oven bakes unevenly for consistent browning. 
  • Remove from oven and let cool for about 20 minutes before removing from the tart pan. To remove the tart from your pan, carefully set the tart on a jar or small overturned bowl and let the ring fall (carefully pull it downward if needed). Slide the tart off of the pan and onto your serving tray, or simply serve it on the base of the tart pan. 
  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you wish.